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Property owners grant permission to use their property in the form of a location release form. This is a type of document with the signature of the property owner, and it serves as an official agreement for the use of his property. The film location release form is typically used by professional and commercial filmmakers, photographers, and producers.

Location release form basics

Whether you’re planning to film a commercial, a movie or a video, you need a filming release form to gain access to the desired venue. The same thing goes if you’re a professional photographer, location is one of the most important aspects of your success.

As soon as you have found the perfect venue to shoot your videos or photographs, you need a location release form documentary so you can do your work. This document grants you formal permission to film from the location’s owner. After getting this document, you can start shooting the scenes you’ve envisioned on the location. You need this type of document when:

  • You need to shoot on private property.
  • You own the property that’s considered for a photography or film project.
  • You’re a location scout and you want to have the proper documents ready.
  • You’re a photographer, a director, a producer or a videographer.

The document contains all the details regarding the film or photography shooting from the dates, the clean-up tasks, the compensation, and the restrictions set by the owner of the property. As soon as you get the signature of the property owner, he/she releases the rights to any filmed material too.

Downloadable Templates:

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Basic elements of a location release form

A location release form is an official document which gives permission to specific groups or individuals to gain access to private property for content recording purposes. The location video release form must have the signature of the owner of the property or his legal representative. This applies even if the owner agrees to let you use his property free of charge. Here are the basic elements of a film location release form:

  • Permission to access and record on private property
    This is the most important part of the document. If you want to access private property, you have to get permission from the owner. The document should indicate the specific location and the times and dates when you will film recordings on the property. You may also want to add a provision so you can go back to the property if you need to make any additional recordings.
  • Rights to make use of the recordings
    In the filming release form, you should also specify how you will make use of the recordings. Are they a part of a specific project? Will you use them in different types of media? Where will you exhibit or display the recordings? Of course, you want to freely use the recordings, especially if you’re a professional photographer or videographer. Make sure that you specify the details of this element.
  • Ownerships of all the recordings
    Ideally, you should state in your document that you will be the sole owner of the recordings so you can choose whatever you want to do with them.
  • Compensation for the use of the property
    An element of consideration will make the document more official. This means that there should be an exchange of value between yourself and the owner of the property. Most of the time, this comes in the form of monetary compensation, especially if you plan to use the location for an extended period of time.
  • Property owner’s representation
    The document should also contain some sort of representation that you have acquired authority from the owner of the property. It should also state that the property owner has the authority to allow all of the rights made under the contract.
    If somebody is just renting the location you want to film on, you need to get in touch with the owner and not the renter. Otherwise, the owner can file a lawsuit against you for using his/her property without permission.
  • No obligation to make use of the filmed content
    You shouldn’t have any obligation to make use of the content you’ve filmed on the location. The document should have a statement which says that it’s your sole discretion to choose how to use the content.
  • Assignment rights
    Finally, you should also have the right to assign, transfer, and license your rights as stated in the agreement.

When do I need a location release form?

Any professional videographer, filmmaker, director or photographer knows how important finding the perfect location is. In fact, the location is one of the most important things to find if you want your project to succeed. This is especially true if your photography or film projects require specific settings and themes to make them work.

Finding the perfect location is already a difficult task. And the work doesn’t stop there. Even if you find the perfect location, you need to get permission to start using it. This is the time when you need a location release form. You can either download the template here or create one for yourself.

The important thing is to get the form filled out so that you can obtain permission from the owner of the property before the schedule of your photography or film shooting. This is a very important form which will keep you protected from any lawsuits made by the owner. If you want to become a professional filmmaker or photographer, you should know how to generate and use this form.

Whether the location is a popular one or it looks abandoned, you still need to get permission from the owner of the property before you use it. Otherwise, if the property owner sees the location in a movie or in a photography exhibit, you can get into a lot of trouble.

Other forms you need apart from the location release form

We’ve established the importance of location release forms already. Use this form to gain access to the “perfect location” for your project. But in the world of professional photography and filmmaking, there are other forms and permits you need to acquire before you start your shooting schedule. These documents include:

  • General Appearance Release Form
    This type of release form is very common when filming documentaries. It also serves as a protection for non-actors from misrepresentation or from their image getting misused by the production company. Once the production company signs this form, they should honor all of the terms and conditions of how those contributors agreed to appear in the film.
    This release form also protects the production company from the possibility of any individuals claiming that the company filmed them without their permission. It also protects the production company from any complaints that they don’t have permission to use the individual’s image.
    As long as the production company acquired the signatures of the non-actors on the form, they legally have the right to film content and make sure of the footage as stated in the form. The production company may also edit the footage as long as the end-result remains faithful to the original project stated in the document.
  • Materials Release Form
    This type of form grants you permission to make use of film, video, photographs, and other types of media which are technically owned or copyrighted by other people. There are times when you may have to film inside an art gallery for your movie. In such a case, you need to obtain permission to film all of the artworks hanging in that gallery.
    The same thing goes for when you need to film a scene inside a vehicle with its radio on. In such a case, you need this form so you can use the copyrighted content of the radio show that’s playing, the copyrighted music playing on the radio, and the performance of the presenter talking on the radio.
  • Minor Release Form
    From the name of the form, you can deduct that you would need this form when you plan to film teenagers and children. But these minors won’t sign the form. Instead, their parents or legal guardians are the ones who will affix their signatures on the form when needed.
  • Talent Release Form
    This type of form is essential when filming professional models or actors. Such forms tend to be more complicated as there would be a Talent Agent involved in the negotiations. But the same core principles apply when creating and using this form.
  • Weapons Permit
    This is an important document to have if you need to film scenes using weapons. You should always inform your local authorities about your plans to film or take photographs using weapons, especially if you’re doing so in a public place. You may even ask for their assistance to keep everyone calm while you’re filming.
    Think about it, if your subjects start coming out of your production vehicles carrying shotguns or Samurai Swords. After some time, you can expect the authorities swarming around you ready to take you in. Get the permit first and inform the proper people.


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